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What are the best new skills for contact center managers?

While basic contact center manager skills haven't changed, they have broadened and will continue to evolve as contact center management technology evolves.

Contact center managers still require basic leadership skills, but these skills must be broadened to manage modern...

contact centers that rely on new technologies to improve customer service.

These five contact center management skills are critical:

  1. The ability to motivate teams of service agents, many of whom have different needs and goals.
  2. An increased awareness of customer communication preferences.
  3. The ability to solve complicated problems to attain service-level goals, customer satisfaction results and other requirements.
  4. Need a strong grasp of contact center technology and how to use it to drive efficiency.
  5. Understand how to use untraditional tools to understand customer behavior and needs.

While the need for these basic leadership skills may not change, each skill has broadened and will continue to evolve as technology evolves.

Tailoring motivation

Contact center managers now lead more diverse organizations and head teams with employees from many generations who have different communication styles and priorities. This diversified workforce provides value in the ability to better represent a diversified customer base and to bring different skill sets to an organization. Contact center managers must continue to embrace an ever-changing workforce and understand how to motivate and reward workers from different generations.

Multichannel problem solving

Contact center managers have to contend with more complex scenarios, including staffing contact centers to support multichannel communications -- that is, interactions between customers and companies that take place in a variety of channels, from email to social media to live chat to traditional phone calls -- requiring agents with a broader set of skills.

Fortunately, automation can perform many analytical tasks, from gauging agent performance to identifying problems with a product. Contact center managers still need to supplement automated tools with sound judgment and the ability to apply the art to the science of understanding the nuances of the various channels of communication as both individual and interrelated channels.

Customer awareness

Contact centers now offer a more diverse set of communications channels for customer access and a contact center manager needs to understand the demographics of the users of the various channels, the value of each channel, and the effectiveness of directing customers among these channels for effective problem resolution.

Strategic analysis

Technology is a big part of a customer service strategy as new technologies not only drive efficiencies but also improve customer experience. Contact center managers need to understand the capabilities of the various technologies and help drive decisions to determine which technologies best fit with the strategic objectives of the organization.

Contact center analytical tools

Contact centers now use analytical tools that go beyond crunching numbers. With technologies such as speech and text analytics, a contact center manager needs untraditional and creative types of inquiries using attributes such as speech inflection to analyze customer interactions. They also need to be versed in how to analyze this data to make decisions about agent performance, product lines and customer accounts.

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